Thursday, March 29, 2012

What Happened????? or Eric Ages Despite My Best Efforts

I don't know how, but Eric had another birthday. Somehow we went from a 17 & 18 year old couple to what we are today. I don't quite believe it, that 15 years went by, but our garage seems to have ample evidence that we've been hoarding for at least that long! (In honor of Eric's birthday I ordered a dumpster so our poor cars will continue to fit into it).

As Eric ages he becomes more and more like his dad, which is a wonderful thing. One way that he is developing Alan-like tendencies (besides mixing food that should never be mixed outside of a stomach) is that he would rather do the easiest thing versus doing something he really wants to. Case in point was breakfast.

Eric LOVES breakfast. More specifically he loves to eat restaurant breakfasts. He loves pancakes made on an industrial griddle, multiple syrup choices, and eggs made on a skillet soaked in lard. There are few things Eric will express an opinion on, but I happen to know how much he truly loves ordering breakfast. If he were a teen girl his folder would say "Eric Hearts Breakfast." Well, his birthday actually fell on a Saturday this year and I thought it would be fun to go to Perkins for breakfast.

Me: jumping up and down "Let's go order pancakes at Perkins!!!!!"
Eric: long pause "Hmmm, let's just go to the bakery."
Me: stunned into 2 second pause "What the heck?"
Eric: "Well, the kids like the bakery better and I can get a bagel sandwich."
Me: "What the heck?"
Eric: "I like it fine, and it is so much easier. If we go to Perkins we have to deal with kids while we wait for food."
Me: "What the heck?"

So....we went to the bakery. It was his birthday and if there is one thing I believe in it is the birthday person's right to pick all food for the day. I'm not going to force him to have what he really wants (although I did try).

First thing in the morning we opened gifts. The kids were shocked when Eric suggested we eat first. Livi was also a little shocked that none of the presents were for her. The pinewood derby took up a lot of the day, but we did try and go fishing, but it was too cold and windy, so Eric and Livi braved the playground while Ethan, Ella and I shivered in the car.

I did put my foot down and refuse to let him have a chocolate cake and got him a cheesecake instead.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Pinewood Derby, or It's Not Funny Anymore!

Me, the only adult in a scout shirt, obviously trying to NOT scream at some of the people.
My group of scouts, obviously having more fun than me. Thank goodness!

WARNING: This post is mostly me venting. Feel free to scroll down to the pictures and ignore my rantings.

Well, I've had a couple days to recover, so maybe I can talk about it without shuddering. This Saturday, in addition to being Eric's birthday, was our pack's Pinewood Derby. I am only the bear leader, but our cub master has a lot going on so I offered to help out with awards and games for the kids.

In past years the Derby has been a VERY long, drawn out process, so I decided to make it a little more fun than just sitting around watching one race every 5 minutes (no joke). I made the certificates, bought little medals the winners could wear on their uniforms, made 4 games ALL the kids could do while the waited (it being a given that it wouldn't start on time) and got candy for prizes for the games. None of this was expensive, and since I did it on my own I ate the cost of it, but I really wanted it to be more fun for the kids.

At the weigh-in I was a little chagrined when I looked at the other cars and my kids' stuck out like a sore thumb. One of the older brothers of a cub even said some not very nice things about Ella and Livi's. Fearing for their, especially Ella's, sensitive little natures I let the boys know that rude comments would not be tolerated, which was followed by the dad of a different scout saying something along the line of "what happened here" pointing at the girls' cars. I was about in tears knowing the hard work they put in, and that if I had just stepped in and done it for them they wouldn't be facing the rude comments. Not to mention they are Church members and I just kind of expect better.

The next day was the Derby and I got all my stuff together and we headed over. The cubs were really cute and all the younger siblings were adorable, looking for the road signs I hid around the room, unscrambling words, taking a "drivers test, " etc. The older siblings were another matter. They saw my candy bowl and thought it was a free for all. One of the cub master's older boys stuffed his pockets with candy and when I told him to put it back he laughed and left the room. The older boys kept coming over and stealing the candy by the handful and I ended up having to either carry it with me or putting my purse on top of it, on the stage, behind the curtain, or they would have eaten it all. It's not like there wasn't a treat planned, the candy was just an extra. I ended up having to yell at 3 of the boys because even after I told them repeatedly they couldn't have more candy they were climbing on the stage trying to move my purse.

Speaking of yelling, there was so much yelling by a certain man at his wife and kids that it gave me the beginnings of a migraine. He was putting information in to the computer about who won each race, and anytime ANY kid got too close or tried to talk to him he chewed them out. What a great example that was to his own kids, let alone the other 20 kids that were there.

Last vent. Looking at the rules it is very clear that the cars entered into the race are suppose to be made "in the year that the derby is held" meaning that you are not suppose to reuse cars. Well, one family did just that and boasted about it. As Melissa pointed out, they aren't going to use the slow cars from previous years, so they go in knowing they have fast cars. And guess what? Their boy won!!! I'm not mean enough to call them on it, but the Type A, rule follower in me had a fit

Ok, onto the important part. My kids each made a car. When I say they made it I mean they made it. The drew out the design, Eric cut it with a jigsaw, and then the kids made decorations and painted them. It was hard to watch, knowing they wouldn't look as professional, or be as fast, as the kids who had more... parental involvement, but I really wanted them to have the pride that comes with making something themselves. Kind of the same reason we have lots of homemade pictures on the walls and kid made Christmas tree decorations. I'm not sure if this is a good thing as a parent, if it would be better to step in more, but this is the way I like it so my kids can get mad at me for it when they grow up.

Here are their cars: Ethan's, with a motor he sculpted out of clay based on a Chevy engine he found a picture of online. Ella made clay hearts and a flower to glue on an to her custom paint job. Livi wanted to have a "little Livi" driving her car. I debated Lego or playmobil figures, but none looked right so I decided to mold one for her (I guess I did do that part for her so I am a lier). It was an interesting experience. It started out looking like Genghis Khan, then I painted it and it looked like Livi Khan, and then after extensive rhinoplasty it ended up looking more like a very old Livi with botched plastic surgery. Oh well, she seemed happy with her, so on she went.

The Results: Ethan's car was wonderful to look at, and more unique than the shallow wedge shape favored by half the group, but alas, it was not the fastest. Caleb Bagley did great and he ended up getting 2nd or 3rd, I can't remember. It was an awesome car that after the race he had a real working engine he hooked up to it and made the car just fly down the track!

The open class, where anyone could make a car and enter, had 18 cars so it took FOREVER. Last year Ella had a hard time when her car never beat anyone, so I decided I should make a car too. One that all the kids would be guaranteed to beat. I needed something with form over function, and there was no better design I could think of...A SHOE!!! (I made it a peep-toe to be as poorly aerodynamic as possible).

I needn't have worried. Ella's car was smoking. At first it seemed like she had a shot at getting an award, but it soon became clear she was unbeatable. And indeed she won 1st place in the open class, even beating the cub scout that won the Derby (I was not so secretly thrilled)! I was glad I made the shoe, though, as some of the others (Livi) needed someone to beat. Ethan's truck and my shoe going head to head.

I had a lot of fun designing it and being able to see the smiles on the faces of the little people who's cars crushed it during the race!
Can't you just tell how much this means to Livi? I think she watched all of 1 race the whole time!

In addition to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd I made sure everyone got a "special" award for their designs. I didn't pick any of them, we had a panel of judges, so it was kind of fun for me too, to see what the kids got. Ethan got "Most Futuristic," which made his day. Ella got "Coolest Design" because she had the words "cool, cool" on her windshield. Livi got "Best Female Driver" for her figure. I got "Fanciest Car" which made me laugh. Caleb got "Most Realistic" (I think), Maddi got "Most Heartfelt"(it had hearts cut out in it), and Carter got "Looks Most Like A Futuristic Space Weapon" (it was a lightsaber). Really it was a lot of fun, it's just hard to feel responsible for something, but not be completely in charge so it can go how you want it too! At least we have another year before I have to think about it again!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Upping The Ante, or COME VISIT US!!!

It was so great to have my mom here, but it was definitely over too quickly. Eric had his Young Professionals Academy of Lawyers Who Want to Do Other Things Good Too (or whatever it is really called) in Omaha so Mom offered to come out so I could go along. I jumped at the chance since he has gone every month seems like forever, but I was sick of being left alone for 3 days every month with the kids. Only problem is that when your mom comes out for one week and you are gone for 3 of those days, the rest of the time you have with her goes by too quickly.

I didn't take any pictures in Omaha (although Eric took one of a guy he thinks looks like Ben from Parks and Rec, but I didn't think it was relevant to our trip so - executive decision - it's not going on the blog).

I did get a few pics from the time with my mom.
First off right as we were leaving, the moment we were headed out the door, I reached into the pantry just to grab a bag of chips to take to the school and knocked down our giant, brand new, container of gum balls. It was so horrible to watch all the sugary goodness run all over the floor and down my stairs, while the dog scurried everywhere trying to get them before I could sweep them up.

Ella threw up all over her room the first night Mom stayed with us. "Welcome to our home. Think James and Jes had the best trip ever? We'll see about that!!!" We were up until way past midnight trying to clean up the Exorcist looking mess, using a steam cleaner and a spot remover which were about as noisy as a lawn mower. Somehow Mom slept through it all, though.

The next morning Ella felt fine, but I could not in good conscience let her go to school a few hours after she had thrown up, so we did what every good mother does and took her and Livi down to Fort Collins to go shopping (mother-of-the-year here I come!!!)!

We also took a 1.5 hour long walk along the North Platte River which was beautiful, and the perfect temperature, but about 20 minutes too long. Our legs hurt, but we rejoiced and ate a doughnut to celebrate.

The night before Mom left she gave the lesson for Home Evening that she had brought with her. It was a wonderful lesson about love at home which the kids loved, but promptly forgot when we played Disney Trivial Pursuit and they screamed and argued the whole way through (on the bright side the girls are still undefeated).

Joy(???) School

Livi has been a little antsy around the house so when another mother in the ward suggested we start a joy school I jumped at the chance. Livi would get to be with 3 other little people, learning a little, playing a lot, and I would have 2 hours to myself every Tuesday. Sounded perfect, and the first two weeks were, then it was my turn.

Not only was my mom coming to town that afternoon, but Ethan stayed home from school with breathing issues (turned out to be 1st allergy attack of the season...yay Spring!). I offered to cancel if people didn't want their kids to be around Ethan, but for some strange reason everyone seemed to want the 2 hour break!

The other little girl, Maddi, was out of town, so it was just Livi and the two boys, but still I was very intimidated trying to think how to entertain, educationally, 3 little people. Here is what I came up with: We started out playing with the trains. No, it didn't have to do with our letter "C", but I thought it would be a fun way to start out together, plus I wanted to pull them out again since I don't have anyone here that wants to play with them anymore.

We then talked about "C" and colored pictures of chicks, carrots, and cars.

We then frosted cookies and put sprinkles on them. To burn off the sugar high we went outside to look at clouds, but it ended up turning into a free for all in the backyard,

and you know what, that was more fun anyways!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Livi's Masterpiece

Olivia has a thing about walls. I don't know why, but she can't let a perfectly clean wall stay bare. I have found pencil marks, pen marks, sticky finger prints, smeared makeup, and even smashed fruit snacks (luckily that was the worst thing) on my walls. My other two never really did this, so i am not quite sure what to do other than say "No, no," and explain why, but Livi is not to be dissuaded.

And now, now she has upped the ante: If you are wondering what it is, it is the very first drawing of a person Livi has ever done. This is normally something I would save in the books I keep for the kids, but Livi is one to do things her own way. I was a little reluctant to wash it off, but baring pulling off the drywall to save for her these pictures will have to do!

Bundle of...Fur???

Life is a little crazy right now. My callings are a little more than I can handle, I've committed to way to many things, Eric is super busy at work (but not in a good way), we have a pinewood derby tomorrow, and I really miss having my mom here. I have a lot to catch up on, so I am doing the only thing I know how when I feel overwhelmed ... procrastinating!!!

Tonks got a haircut, and here are the cute pictures to take my mind off the fact I have ZERO control over my life!!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Future of America

I had scouts again tonight. One of the things we worked on was making a to do list. They were suppose to just write 4 things they wanted to do tomorrow that they could actually accomplish (because they were about to write things like invent a video game that would make millions of dollars - not kidding). I gave some examples like "finish chores" or "play a game". Well...they had their own ideas, and these were some of my favorites:
-eat lots of junk food
-make comics
-pummel sister (2 of them put this, they were working together)

My all time favorite -ding dong ditch

Monday, March 5, 2012

Snake And Snail and Gas Jokes...

I am now the bear den leader in scouts. I have 5-6 awesome boys I get to keep track of. I have spent over $100 just at the scout store on stuff I "have" to have. I have spent over 10 hours doing training and trying to figure all the paperwork out, just in one week. It has been interesting. When we had cubs they made it all worth it:

Me:(trying to teach about nutrition) Our bodies are like cars. Like cars need fuel we need fuel for our bodies.

Boy1: What do cars use?

Me: (Knowing where this is going)Fuel... we need calories...(seeing raised hands)

Boy 2: What is another word for fuel? (snickering behind hand)

Me: our bodies will run better if...(seeing another raised hand)

My Boy: What is another word for petrol? (He reads Tintin so I knew he knew what it was)

Me: (inwardly sighing) Gasoline... so when we put good fuel into...(all boys snickering and raising hands)

Boy 1: What is short 'snicker' for 'snicker' gasoline? (full on laughing).

Me: Big Sigh... Gas

The entire group folds in on itself laughing so hard I thought someone might choke.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Rocking Out At The Ward Party

Saturday was one of the best ward activities I have ever been to! It was totally unique, a chance to support a lot of members of the ward, super fun, and increased good will in the community. Did we paint a fence? Nope. Did we do yard work at a cemetery? Nope. Did we help in a soup kitchen? Nope.

We went to a basketball game.Yep we went to the local community college's basketball game. The head coach and one of the assistant coaches are members of our ward along with 4 or 5 of the guys on the team (since the coach recruits quite a few members). We held a "tail gate party" before hand, which since it is February in Nebraska meant we had hot dogs in the gym at the church. All of the members of the team where there and we got to know quite a few of them. They have players not only from the usual Utah and Arizona, but 2 from Mexico and even one from Serbia! They were all really nice guys and it was great to actually know a little about them before we went to cheer for them.

The ward also had materials to make posters and the coaches wife even had signs with her husbands face that we held up when our team scored, which was often. They thanked the ward, twice, at the game, for sponsoring the players and having the cook out, and we made up a big section of the audience at the game. It reminded me a little of the games at Paraclete where the scores of one team where double the other. Only in this case I got to cheer for the winning team! My favorite part was this:

and this: